That Quail Place Forum

Hunting Gamebirds => Shooting Preserve Management => Topic started by: redlevel on April 28, 2004, 01:04:30 PM

Title: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: redlevel on April 28, 2004, 01:04:30 PM
I have a 50 acre plot of land (my wife's homeplace;  old farmhouse undergoing restoration).   There are 30 acres of planted pines, thinned last summer.  About 2 acres of house, outbuildings, well, etc.  About 18 acres of open field/pasture,  broken by fencerows, hedgerows, steep, overgrown bluff.  Bordered on one side by a highway, one side by a dirt road, one side by more planted pines, and fourth side by agricultural fields (cotton).   If I had driven up to this place in 1965,  I would have expected to find at least two, and possibly three coveys of quail.  

I have planted a couple of acres of winter wheat--will be ripe in June.  I have corn and peas up and growing on probably an acre.  These are not in solid plantings--they are scattered.  As the growing season progresses,  I will make plantings of peas, browntop millet, grain sorghum, and corn.  (I am 100 miles south of Atlanta--I will make my last planting of peas and millet in August).   I will start mowing some of the wheat in late June, and probably mow all of it in late August for doves.  There is an abundance of common vetch.  I never read much about this as good dove and bobwhite feed.  It has numerous little seedheads.  Anyone know anything about its value for birds?  

What I want to do is provide a place for training my dogs,  and for me and a selected few friends to enjoy the shooting.  I know I will need to release some quail for this.  There are some wild birds present.  I hear them calling early mornings and late afternoons.  What I need is advice about how to release pen-raised birds.  

When to release?  Should I make just a couple of releases during the season, or should I release birds immediately (a day or so) before an anticipated hunt?   Most hunting will be done in late December through February. Should I try to establish "artificial coveys"?   What is the best way to do this?  What age birds should I release?  Will the released birds have any adverse effects on the wild population?  

I realize that habitat management is the key to wild populations.  I have close to perfect conditions now, but it is only 50 acres.  I want to be able to take maybe 100-150 birds during the season.   This is not a commercial venture,  but an attempt by an aging bird hunter, who remembers when he could find a dozen wild coveys on just an average day,  to enjoy just a fraction of what things were like then.
Title: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: Fourche River Quail on April 28, 2004, 01:37:14 PM
Redlevle, I don't know what to tell you, But when I read your last paragraph, I almost went to tears, I can remember when me ,my dad, and brothers would get 400-600 quail in a season and never get out of sight of our house. Covey after covey in ever fence row, Now the fence rows are gone, The cover is gone, and the people don't care anymore, All they want are paved streets and more money for the acre or should I say LOT, the only Lot we had was one you got your cows up in!!  you'll be damn lucky to here birds whistle in the spring. It is sad, very sad, when I was a boy, I could have sworn life would be nothing but the thrill of a covey rise, and then huntin singles, my dad would always designate which one of us boys whould shoot the single (which we almost always missed so dad got it anyway)   me and my oldest brother would walk the roads huntin coke bottles to sell them at the store for 3 cents apeice to buy shells with. The lady that run the store would sell them to us a half a box at a time cause most the time we didn't have money for a full box. Tell me a kid that would do that nowadays just to go quail huntin. I wish you the best of everything in your venture. Mark
Title: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: Fivehollers on May 03, 2004, 09:25:18 AM
We only have 31 acres here and that is not enough for a commercial venture either and that is not really the point of what we are trying to do. Yes there is a great loss of habitat and increase of predation on all wildlife not only Quail but Dove and rabbit. We are starting a feed plot not only for the deer and turkey but also to prepare for the eventual release of breeding pairs of Quail. I see several down the road from time to time and one Phesant on my way to school (I am an adult returning student 41 LOL) but that is the extent of that.

We like you are building habitat and trying to establish coveys like they were "back in the day" as my children would say. But until people realize how important fence rows are, how important it is to spay or neuter your darn cats and that it is not necessary to clear every tree off your property when you build, there will be a deficit in not only the population and health of the animals hunted  but in the food chain as well.

I believe that hunters (well most of us) are the best stewards of the land and the tree huggers are the enemy there is plenty to be gained from culling the weak and genetically inferior animals and keeping numbers in check. The sad part of that is there are so few Quail and Phesant around here that we have to build the population first then see what happens.
Title: establishing wild coveys
Post by: Redhorse on May 04, 2004, 11:09:14 AM
Giant thistle is an important winter food source for Quail. It has something like 98% of the nutrients Quail need, which really reduces the amount of time and travel spent feeding over the winter. It is a good thing to add to your food plots if it's not already present. Below is a link that I had put on the old forum, here it is again. These people really know Quail. I have the less-mess feeder system in my J-house, and hope to employ some Covey Base Camps next year. I have a friend who owns 275 acres and hope to establish several coveys on his property using this method. Good luck, I hope this helps. :)
Title: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: Fivehollers on May 05, 2004, 07:15:50 AM
Thanks Red Horse. I will check out the site.  :D
Title: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: britguy33 on May 15, 2004, 12:47:06 AM
I found this on quail unlimited site and copied it to my hunting club site. here is the link....may help on small plot management .

this is a good one for smaller plots it is set up for Alabama so should be favorable to your area

here is another link
The following is from this web site I have cut the text down to only important parts.

Releasing Quail
No precise rule or combination of factors govern what, when, and where birds are to be released. Best results are generally achieved by releasing flight-conditioned birds as soon as they attain adult size. Highest recovery rates are experienced when releases are made just prior to and during the shooting season.

No techniques have been devised to duplicate the sportiness of a wild bobwhite quail. The best that can be hoped for is a bird which does not hesitate to fly and which survives long enough after release to contribute to a reasonable recovery rate.

Releases made during the breeding season in an attempt to establish long term populations are futile. Little can be expected from pen-raised quail as breeders in the wild.

Once you have a suitable area for release, plan to release early in the morning so the birds will have enough light to become familiar with the area. Usually 15 to 20 birds per covey are released for hunting purposes.

Place the transporting container in the cover where birds are to be released. Open one end so only one or two birds at a time can walk out. Do not frighten the birds and cause them to scatter wild; allow the quail to come out voluntarily. Go back later, after the birds are all out, and remove the box.

Fill feeding bins and place at prospective release sites prior to release. Use the same feed in the same feeders as you used before release.
Although not imperative, watering troughs may be provided during the first two weeks following release.

Place one call bird near each release site during the first two weeks. Elevate call bird boxes to allow the bird to see the covey at considerable distance.  Remove the call bird boxes after two weeks and add the call bird to the covey.

 Following the adjustment period, some shooting preserve managers consider it advantageous to locate the covey with a pointing dog and flush the birds at least once. This reduces the tendency of pen-raised birds to run rather than freeze or hold when approached by a bird dog. Coveys flushed in this manner prior to hunting will simulate more realistically the behavior and flight of native coveys

Hope these help you out. I have little experience with this but have been scouring the web loooking for these things for the fall season. I plan to suplement some birds and have a big family hunt during thanksgiving weekend. Hoping to make it a family tradition.
Post by: britguy33 on May 15, 2004, 12:55:26 AM
found a web site for a video looks promising except for the price. But might be worth it.
Title: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: Bugflipper on May 15, 2004, 01:59:14 AM
That vetch is perfect for quail. If it gets to thick you'll need to mow (or disc) strips so the babies can feed come spring. Ckeck into alfalfa as well, I don't know if they have a strain for our warmer climate( I used to grow it in TN). At any rate bugs love alfalfa, which gives the wild chicks the needed protien level for surviving. Most things to plant for deer and turkey work just fine for quail. You may want to throw some perrinials in there, to save costs in the long run. Try and
 There is very little sucess to be had unless you start a trapping regimen thinning out opposums, skunks, racoons, kitty cats, fox, coyote and snakes.
 The book, Into the Primitive advanced trapping techniques by Dale Martin will give you a leg up. If you want to buy new style steel traps and snares try Chagnons, they have a site spelling may be off. If you can't find some of these let me know, I'll look them up when I have more time.
 Good luck
Title: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: redlevel on May 19, 2004, 09:36:15 AM
Yep.  The quail are really using that vetch.  It is maturing now, the seed-heads are popping, and I have seen several pairs in those areas.   Yesterday while I was watering some watermelon plants started in peat pots, a pair of quail came soaring through the yard and landed in two pecan trees.  They then flew down into the little hollow.  Courting, I guess.  

While standing in the yard,  I have heard as many as a half dozen birds calling at one time.  They are not all on my land, but I think I can "steal" them with food plots and supplemental feeding.  I'm using cracked corn scattered judiciously in the heavy cover.,15118,548553,00.html

This guy advocates releasing six-week old birds into good habitat.  He says they have not lost their survival instincts at that age.  Makes sense to me.
Title: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: muddy fork on May 21, 2004, 12:59:16 AM
Red Horse,
Is this the Giant thistle that you're talking (Onopordum acanthium)?
Title: Ooops!
Post by: Redhorse on May 21, 2004, 03:14:43 PM
Sorry about that. :?  Didn't notice I had put the wrong GIANT on the post...don't know where my brain was when I did that one. It was supposed to be :

         Giant Ragweed = 99.2% nutritional value
         Western Ragweed = 89.1%
         Corn = 88.7%
         Soybean = 86.7%
         Sorghum = 85.1%
         Osage Orange = 81.6%
         Dogwood = 81.2%

Should proof read my own posts once in a while! Hope none of you ran out and started thistle plots...although the song birds would love it. :roll:
Title: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: muddy fork on May 21, 2004, 06:38:20 PM
I found this site and it also looks pretty good I really like the looks of this feeder. I'm going to get they're video.

Red Horse,

This is also the only place I found giant ragweed for sell and you have to buy 40lb of it! :shock: How does ragweed work if you plant it? I have some on my property, but not where I want it.
Title: Re:
Post by: muddy fork on May 21, 2004, 07:29:25 PM
Quote from: britguy33
found a web site for a video looks promising except for the price. But might be worth it.

Found a revue for that video

I thought this was also good reading
Title: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: Redhorse on May 23, 2004, 01:59:17 PM
Broadcast plant it, like many other weeds it takes off great. Putting in a food plot try mixing it with sorghum.
Title: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: muddy fork on May 26, 2004, 04:29:53 PM
I have just built a house and have some ragweed coming up on my 5 acre yard and I was thinking that I could harvest it at the right time and seed where I want it late next winter. The seed stays on plant after it has gone dormant doesn't it?
Title: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: britguy33 on May 26, 2004, 07:45:36 PM
muddy  I hope no one in your family has allergies or they will really be suffering if the ragweed  is very close to your house.

If it is far away and you still want to let it grow you can just cut the stems off where the seeds are and store it in a baggie till planting season. Also you will have a better regrowth if you manually cross polinate the plants. I don't recomend doing this if you have allergies or get hay fever though.
Title: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: muddy fork on May 27, 2004, 12:41:06 AM
Where I want the stuff is about 300y away from the house and where it is, is about 50-100y. I really don't want the seed to go to waste sense it's already there. How and when do you cross pollinate plants that are 50y apart?  
Does anybody know the nutritional value of lespedeza for quail?

Also does anybody know what David Runyan's quail re-establishing plan is? I tried to e-mail him last week and call him today with the info I got from this site, but haven't gotten a response.
Title: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: britguy33 on June 12, 2004, 02:50:13 PM
Muddy If you live in an area where there is a farm bureau of FS office near by talk to these people. Or you could try your local soil and water conservation agency or your states DNR.

I believe you would shake the pollen off of the plants in the early to mid summer. Just shake it off in a bag and then pour the pollen onto other plants.

Lespedesa is in my opinion the best food for quail and rabbits. The stems are long enough and the broad top cover is thick enough to provide room for the animals to maneuver around undetected by predators. And the seeds are a great late fall food source. By planting the seeds thick in an area not overrun with thick bermuda or fescue grass you will have a better chance of it taking off. You also kill 2 birds with 1 stone by providing excellent cover and food.!!!!
Title: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: muddy fork on June 14, 2004, 07:35:31 PM
Yea I think I'll just cut the seed head off of several plants and shake them up in a paper bag and plant them next spring with my native grasses,  legumes, and lespedeza. I am using a mixture of Korean lespedeza in all my plantings.  Unlike rag weed it's great for all wildlife, but I want to have as versatile of plants and seed so no matter what the weather or time of year it is I'll hopefully have something for the quail to eat.
I did get a hold of David Runyan and hopeful I'll get some good info from him for my habitat and quail release.
Title: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: muddy fork on July 03, 2004, 07:32:22 PM
I talked to David Runyan and he gave me some ideas and I'll let you know what I come up with. I've decided that I'm not going to mess with seed rag weed the stuff's coming up everywhere.
Title: Thanks
Post by: mt view farm on February 25, 2005, 07:23:09 PM
Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to post replies.  I'm a newbie to releasing quail and did not know where to start with the food plots and beneficials that quail need to survive. Our goal in addition  to raising quail is to be able to release and re-establish quail in our area (southern VA). Maybe it won't be like 'the good ole days' but I'm looking forward  to taking my boys out back for a morning of bird hunting.  Thanks again for all the helpful sites and links and the valuable comments --from one who cares. -ron
Title: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: bobwhite on April 19, 2005, 03:04:19 PM
The QU info that Britguy posted is right on. Good luck in your venture.
Title: Re: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: Redhorse on August 27, 2005, 05:20:28 PM
Must have established a covey with those birds I released last year. I have some males in a J-house in the back yard and they called in 2 females that hung around for about a month. Lived here 10 yrs and never saw the first Quail. Can't believe I'm seeing results after one year and so few birds released. I have never seen a wild quail anywhere in my...or the surrounding counties before this.

The birds I let go were about 8 weeks old if I remember correctly. Figured they would get to used to humans if I kept them much longer. Hope you are all having the same kind of luck. :laugh:
Title: Re: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: redlevel on May 24, 2007, 09:56:16 AM
Trying something.  Here is my Llewellin Setter.  Chipper.
Title: Re: My own little shooting preserve
Post by: tr on December 29, 2007, 01:58:45 PM
I am interested in starting my own preserve (private) we have provided some valuable info. appreciate it.  Is anyone use a surrogator to stock birds? I live in PA anyone here or near by using this technology?  I have 360 acres that I use part for grazing cattle 120acres the rest is set a side land that I have done some habitat improvement on fro pheasant and quail.  appreciate anyone input on starting this venture.